...or the spirit of taking?
Parish leadership has embarked on yet another appeal for money. Called the "Stewardship of Treasure Program", weekend masses are being disrupted in order for lay people to preach increased giving in our parish.
Next weekend, in fact, we will be called upon, during mass of course, to commit to an increase of giving. We are told adjustments to our budgets are needed so that we can give more. That's rich.
St. Patrick's is history and the proceeds from its sale are dwindling away; Immaculate Heart of Mary is for sale; St. Vincent's is on the chopping block to be destroyed for senior housing; St. Mary's needs significant repairs.
Apparently stewardship is a one-way street. This parish operates on a million-dollar budget, yet the most basic of needs are not being met. Fund raising has all but ceased. We are told a capital campaign fund can not be planned for several years.
A new parish secretary has just been hired. Was our beloved Eleanor Black asked to come back and fill that position?
Reasonable questions regarding the parish financials have gone unanswered. Leadership refuses to balance the budget--refuses to make adjustments that would bring the parish back into alignment with sound fiscal practices. Yet, we are admonished to increase our giving!
Last month I received an email from a friend involved in the FBI group that says in part: "...Sunday morning, 144 teens "fund-raised" $6,300 in less than 3 hours. Added to what they had raised in the last few months, they provided a check for $10,000 to Global Health Services to drill 2 water wells in Sierra Leone. And the parish leadership says fund-raising isn't possible? Really?"
And to add to the irony, Alene Goodman who now works for the Children's Miracle Network at Arnot Ogden, recently helped that organization's handily exceed fundraising goals for their latest Radiothon. From the article: The 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon raised a record $98,913 on from March 9-11. The annual event exceeded its previously held record of $88,000, raised in 2010.
What parish leadership refuses to admit is that parishioners have withheld giving to this parish, opting for other avenues for giving, including attending adjacent parishes, because of the insistence on closing churches, and a stubborn refusal to listen to the real needs of the people. Instead we are given vague platitudes about ensuring parish financial resources and so on.
Christ have mercy.
UPDATE: Cleansing Fire has posted about the comments on this particular blog.